Vita sancti Findani confessoris‘The Life of St Findan the confessor’

  • Latin
  • Irish hagiography
Life of the 9th-century Irish saint Fintán of Rheinau (modern Switzerland, near Schaffhausen). He is said to be a Leinsterman whom vikings carried off as a captive to the Orkneys, after which he escaped and travelled as a pilgrim to Rome. On his way home, he met and joined the community of anchorites based at Rheinau.
  • Latin
  • Secondary language(s): Old Irish


Irish hagiography

Subject tags

Fintán of RheinauFintán of Rheinau (fl. 9th century) – Irish saint from Leinster who is said to have been captured by vikings and carried off as a slave to the Orkneys, only to escape and embark on a pilgrimage to Rome; while returning home, he met and joined a community of anchorites based at Rheinau (at the Rhine, near Schaffhausen, modern Switzerland).
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Primary sources Text editions and/or modern translations – in whole or in part – along with publications containing additions and corrections, if known. Diplomatic editions, facsimiles and digital image reproductions of the manuscripts are not always listed here but may be found in entries for the relevant manuscripts. For historical purposes, early editions, transcriptions and translations are not excluded, even if their reliability does not meet modern standards.

[ed.] Holder-Egger, Oswald, “Vita Findani”, in: Supplementa tomorum I-XII, pars III. Supplementum tomi XIII, MGH Scriptores 15:1, Hanover, 1887. 502–506.
Digital MGH: <link> CELT – edition as reprinted by Christiansen (1962): <link>
[ed.] [tr.] Christiansen, Reidar Thorolf, “The people of the north”, Lochlann: A Review of Celtic Studies 2 (1962): 137–164.
CELT – translation (pp. 155–164): <link> CELT – Latin text (pp. 148–155) reprinted from MGH SS 15: <link>
English translation by Christiansen on 155–164, with the edition by Holder-Egger on pp. 148–155.
[ed.] Goldast, Melchior, Alamannicarum rerum scriptores aliquot vetusti, 3 vols, Frankfurt, 1606.
Vol. 1, 318–322 editio princeps
Old Irish passages
[ed.] [tr.] Stokes, Whitley, and John Strachan (eds.), Thesaurus palaeohibernicus: a collection of Old-Irish glosses, scholia, prose, and verse, 3 vols, vol. 2: Non-Biblical glosses and scholia; Old-Irish prose; names of persons and places; inscriptions; verse; indexes, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1903. 
comments: Reprinted by DIAS in 1987, together with Stokes' supplementary volume.
Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive – originally from Google Books: <link> Wikisource: <link>
258 Extracts direct link

Secondary sources (select)

Kenney, James F., “Chapter VI: The expansion of Irish Christianity”, in: Kenney, James F., The sources for the early history of Ireland: an introduction and guide. Volume 1: ecclesiastical, Records of Civilization: Sources and Studies 11, Revised ed. (1929), New York: Octagon, 1966. 486–621.
602–603 [id. 422.]
Löwe, Heinz, “Findan von Rheinau. Eine irische peregrinatio im 9. Jahrhundert”, Studi Medievali, 3rd series, 26 (1985): 53–100.
Löwe, Heinz, “Zur Überlieferungsgeschichte der Vita Findani”, Deutsches Archiv für Erforschung des Mittelalters 42 (1986): 25–85.
Holm, Poul, “The slave trade of Dublin, ninth to twelfth centuries”, Peritia 5 (1986): 317–345.
Ó Corráin, Donnchadh, “The Vikings in Scotland and Ireland in the ninth century”, Peritia 12 (1998): 296–339.
Dennis Groenewegen
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